Wildebeest Migration is a fascinating example of extreme animal behavior in the animal kingdom. If you are a fan of wildlife, you probably know a few things about the phenomenon often call the “Greatest Show” on Earth. You also likely have some of it wrong.
The Great Migration is the Biggest Animal Herd in the World.
Myth: The migration is vast, consisting of over two million animals. Wildebeest make up 75% of the host. The migration is not one herd. Numerous “Mega-herds” loosely travel together in a perpetual search for water and green grass.
Truth: The migration is the largest and longest (500 Miles or 800Km) land migration of mammals on the planet
The oldest and smartest Wildebeest lead the migration.
Myth: There are no leaders of the migration; they follow the rains to green grasslands. They will then devour 4000 tons of grass, and once they strip an area clear, the migration continues.
Zebra make more decisions about the direction of travel. A zebra’s sense of smell and memory is better than the Wildebeest, so they “guide” the groups to water.
The migration has been going for a thousand years.
Myth: For reasons not yet known, the migration did not begin until the 1960s.
I see so many predators taking a massive toll on the migration that must be hard on the population.
Truth: About 250,000 wildebeest and 30,000 zebra will fall to predators on the migration.
Wildebeest have unique adaptations to survive that many deaths. Even though there are 3000 lions in the Serengeti, there is safety in numbers. Wildebeest produce more calves than predators can eat. 8000 wildebeest are born per day during two weeks of calving. 500,000 wildebeest are born during the migration. Baby wildebeest are remarkable athletes. The babies can stand in 2 to 3 minutes and can run with the herd in 5 minutes. Within 24 hours, a baby wildebeest can outrun a lion!
I hope that you have enjoyed reading about the awe-inspiring Great Wildebeest Migration. I have been fortunate to witness the migration, and I was unaware some of my “truths” were myths. As a photographer, there is nothing compared to the migration, and I encourage you to look at my upcoming workshop in Tanzania. It’s ll be my pleasure to help you make incredible images of a most astonishing spectacle!